EDM Genres



House is uptempo music for dancing, although by modern dance-music standards it is mid-tempo, generally ranging between 118 and 135 bpm. Tempos tended to be slower in the early years of house.

The common element of house is a prominent kick drum on every beat (also known as a four-on-the-floor beat), usually generated by a drum machine or sampler.

The kick drum sound is augmented by various kick fills and extended dropouts. The drum track is filled out with hi-hat cymbal-patterns that nearly always include a hi-hat on quaver off-beats between each kick, and a snare drum or clap sound on beats two and four of every bar. This pattern derives from so-called “four-on-the-floor” dance drumbeats of the 1960s and especially from the 1970s disco drummers.

Producers use many different sound-sources for bass sounds in house, from continuous, repeating electronically generated lines sequenced on a synthesizer, such as a Roland SH-101 or TB-303, to studio recordings or samples of live electric bassists, or simply filtered-down samples from whole stereo recordings of classic funk tracks or any other songs.

House bass-lines tend to favor notes that fall within a single-octave range, whereas disco bass-lines often alternated between octave-separated notes and would span greater ranges.

Today, house music remains popular in both clubs and in the mainstream pop scene.


Electro House is a subgenre of house music that rose to become one of the most prominent genres of electronic dance music today. Stylistically, it combines the four to the floor beats commonly found in House music with harmonically rich analogue basslines, abrasive high-pitched leads and the occasional piano or string riff. The tempo of electro house ranges approximately from 120 to 130 bpm.

The precursor to the modern electro house scene is the electroclash movement of the early 2000s; largely a re-run of the early 1980s synth pop sound, but deliberately made cruder and more raw-sounding than the primitive records on which it was based. More recently, some of the artists and labels involved with the sound, such as Crosstown Rebels, have found a new direction in electro house. Some artists associated with the electroclash movement, such as Felix da Housecat, noticeably used elements of house in their music at the time and have since come to be seen as highly influential. French electro, such as Mr. Oizo, has also been considered an influence.

As of 2007, the sound has been recognised as one of the most dominant movements in house music, surpassing funky house in popularity, with a large range of DJs and producers finding an interest in its dancefloor sensibilities and sense of fun.


Tech House is a subgenre of house music that mixes elements of minimal techno into simple, 4-to-4 beats found in soulful deep house. The genre came to prominence in the late-1990s atmosphere of American clubs as soul influenced Detroit-style techno that also borrowed elements from house before reaching Europe.This style fuses “steady techno rhythms with the soul and accessibility of house.

Unlike progressive house that arose on European dance scene during the same era, tech house does not represent a breakaway from electronic simplicity, but rather takes it to a new level, by experimenting with simplicity in techno subgenres.

As a musical (as opposed to a mixing) style, tech-house uses the same basic structure as house. However, elements of the house ‘sound’ such as realistic jazz sounds (in deep house) and booming kick drums are replaced with elements from techno such as shorter, deeper, darker and often distorted kicks, smaller, quicker hi-hats, noisier snares and more synthetic or acid sounding synth melodies from the TB-303, including raw electronic noises from distorted sawtooth and squarewave oscillators.


Deep House is a subgenre of house music that fuses elements of Chicago house into the 1980s jazz-funk and touches of soul music. In the early compositions (1988—89), influences of jazz music were most frequently brought out by using more complex chords than simple triads (7ths, 9ths, 13ths,suspensions, alterations) which are held for many bars and give compositions a slightly dissonant feel. Later deep house tracks (1993—94) were also heavily influenced by disco and even merged into a disputable disco house genre.

The use of vocals became more common in deep house than in many other forms of house music. Sonic qualities include soulful vocals, slow and concentrated dissonant melodies, smooth, stylish, and chic demeanor.

Deep house music rarely reaches a climax, but lingers on as a comfortable relaxing sound, with or without vocals.


Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit,Michigan, in the United States during the mid-to-late 1980s.The first recorded use of the word techno in reference to a specific genre of music was in 1988.

Stylistically, techno is generally repetitive instrumental time, oftentimes produced for use in a continuous DJ set. The central rhythmic composition is most often in common time (4/4), where time is marked with a bass drum on each quarter note pulse, a backbeat played by snare or clap on the second and fourth pulses of the bar, and an open hi hat sounding every second eighth note.

The tempo tends to vary between approximately 120 to 150 beats per minute (bpm), depending on the style of techno. The creative use of music production technology, such as drum machines, synthesizers, and digital audio workstations, is viewed as an important aspect of the music’s aesthetic.

Many producers use retro electronic musical devices to create what they consider to be an authentic techno sound. Drum machines from the 1980s such as Roland’s TR-808 and TR-909 are highly prized, and software emulations of such retro technology are popular among techno producers.


Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that developed in the 1990s.

It is characterized by a tempo of between 125 and 150 beats per minute,repeating melodic phrases,and a musical form that builds up and down throughout a track.

A characteristic of virtually all trance songs is the soft mid-song breakdown,beginning with and occurring after the orchestration is broken down and the rhythm tracks fade out rapidly, leaving the melody and/or atmospherics to stand alone for anywhere from thirteen seconds to three minutes.

Classic trance usually employs a “four-to-the-floor” time signature,a tempo of 125 to 150 BPM,and 32 beat phrases and is somewhat faster than house music.A kick drum is usually placed on every downbeat and a regular open hi-hat is often placed on theupbeat or every 1/8th division of the bar.

Rapid arpeggios and minor scales are common features. Trance tracks often use one central “hook”, or melody, which runs through almost the entire song, repeating at intervals anywhere between 2 beats and 32 bars, in addition to harmonies and motifs in different timbres from the central melody.

When vocals are present in trance, they are generally sung by a female with a soaring, operatic voice ranging from mezzo-soprano to soprano.


Psy Trance is a form of electronic music characterized by hypnotic arrangements of synthetic rhythms and complex layered melodies created by high tempo riffs.

It appeared in the mainstream in 1995 as with reporting of the trend of Goa trance. The genre offers variety in terms of mood, tempo, and style.

Psychedelic trance has a distinctive, speedy sound (generally between 140 and 150 BPM) that tends to be faster than other forms of trance or techno music.

Psychedelic trance uses a very distinctive resonated bass beat that pounds constantly throughout the song and overlays the bass with varying rhythms drawn from funk music, techno, dance, acid house and trance using drums and other instruments.

The different leads, rhythms and beats generally change every 8 bars.Layering is used to great effect in psychedelic trance, with new musical ideas being added at regular intervals, often every 4 to 8 bars.New layers will continue to be added until a climax is reached, and then the song will break down and start a new rhythmic pattern over the constant bass line. Psychedelic trance tracks tend to be 6–10 minutes long.

Reverb and Delay are used heavily, with large, open sounding reverb present on most of the lead synthesizers in the track.


Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in South London, England.

The music website Allmusic has described its overall sound as “tightly coiled productions with overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns, clipped samples, and occasional vocals.

The earliest dubstep releases date back to 1998 and were darker, more experimental, instrumental dub remixes of 2-step garage tracks attempting to incorporate the funky elements of breakbeat, or the dark elements of drum and bass into 2-step, which featured as B-sides of single releases.

The tempo is nearly always in the range of 138–142 beats per minute, with a clap or snare usually inserted every third beat in a bar.

One characteristic of certain strands of dubstep is the wobble bass, where an extended bass note is manipulated rhythmically.

Towards the end of the decade the genre started to become more commercially successful in the UK, with more singles and remixes entering the music charts.


Drum and Bass is a type of electronic music which emerged in the mid 1990s.

The genre is characterized by fast breakbeats with heavy bass and sub-bass lines.

Drum and bass is usually between 160–190 BPM, in contrast to other breakbeat-based dance styles such as nu skool breaks which maintain a slower pace at around 130–140 BPM.

Recently some producers have started to once again produce tracks with slower tempos (that is, in the 150s and 160s), but the mid-170 tempo is still the hallmark of the drum and bass sound.

Drum and bass began as an offshoot of the United Kingdom rave scene of the very early 1990s. Over the first decade of its existence, the incorporation of elements from various musical genres led to many permutations in its overall style.


Trap music is a music genre that originated in the early 1990s in the Southern United States.It is typified by its aggressive lyrical content and sound, where the instrumentals are propelled by 808 kick drums or heavy extended sub-bass lines, double time, triple-time and other faster time division hi hats layered synthesizers, and “cinematic” strings.

Trap music incorporates an extensive use of multi-layered hard-lined and melodic synthesizers; crisp, grimy and rhythmic snares; deep 808 sub-bass kick drums or heavy sub-bass lines; double-time, triple-time and similarly divided hi-hats; and a cinematic and symphonic utilization of string, brass and keyboard instruments creating an overall dark, harsh, grim and bleak atmosphere for the listener.

These primary characteristics would go on to be the signature sound of trap music originating from producer Shanty Reed. The tempo of a typical trap beat is around 140 BPM.

Trap music is also defined by its ominous, bleak, gritty and belligerent lyrical content which varies widely according to artist. Typical lyrical themes portrayed include observations of street life, poverty, violence, hardship in the “trap” and harsh experiences in urban surroundings.


Chill-out music (sometimes also chillout, chill out or simply chill) is a genre of electronic music and an umbrella term for several styles of electronic musiccharacterized by their mellow style and mid-tempo beats, “chill” being derived from a slang word for “relax”.

Chill-out music emerged in the early and mid-1990s in “chill rooms” at dance clubs, where relaxing music was played to allow dancers a chance to “chill out” from the more emphatic and fast-tempo music played on the main dance floor.

The genres associated with chill-out are mostly ambient,trip hop,nu jazz,ambient house and other subgenres of downtempo. Sometimes, the easy listening subgenre lounge is considered to belong to the chill-out collection as well. Chill-out, as a musical genre or description, is synonymous with the more recently popularized terms “smooth electronica” and “soft techno”, and it is a loose genre of music blurring into several other very distinct styles of electronic and lo-fi music.


Eurodance is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the late 1980s primarily in Europe. It combines many elements from house, techno, Hi-NRG (especially Eurobeat) and especially Eurodisco.

Starting in the early 1990s and continuing to the present day, Eurodance production continues to evolve with a more modernized style that incorporates elements from trance and techno music.

Eurodance is often very positive and upbeat; the lyrics often involve issues of love and peace, dancing and partying, or expressing and overcoming difficult emotions. The early-mid 1990s Eurodance vocals were frequently done by a solo vocalist or a mixed rapper-vocalist duet.

Eurodance percussion is generally a “kick” bassdrum with some variations on a 4/4 time signature. While the percussion is always done by synthesizers, it is a sound more typical of dance music and not the “beat box” sound typical of rap music. The tempo is typically around 140 beats per minute, but may vary from 110 to 150 BPM.

Most Eurodance is also very melody-driven. Unlike most pop music which is usually written in major keys, most Eurodance songs are in minor keys. This along with positive lyrics helps contribute to the overall powerful and emotional sound of Eurodance.

Besides the contribution of the female vocals, there is often a noticeable use of rapid synthesizer arpeggios. This is a very distinctive feature of Eurodance that separates it from Hi-NRG disco.


Italo Dance is an offshoot of the Eurodance musical genre, which was especially popular in Europe in the late 1990s to the early 2000s.

The term “Italo Dance” originates from its early counterpart italo disco in the 1980s.

Italo Dance is characterized by synthesizer-riffs, vocals modified with vocoders with catchy and simple chorus and typically a bass with a ‘metallic’ sound often referred to as “Tuba-Bass.

Italo Dance is often very positive and uplifting music; the lyrics mostly involve issues of love, partying, dancing or expressing feelings. Most of the lyrics are in English but Italian lyrics are also very common. Modifying the vocals with vocoders and pitch correction is also very common.

The percussion is always produced by synthesizers, and the typical BPM is around 140 although it varies from 60-165 beats per minutes.

Italo Dance is often very melody-driven and is held together by the chorus and the main-theme (melody), some progressive derivates of italo is just driven by percussions and a male vocal though.


Hardstyle is an electronic dance music genre mixing influences from hardtrance, hardcore and rave music. The average tempo is between 140 and 160 bpm (beats per minute).

Hardstyle music is sometimes refered to as hard dance or hardbass, sounds very similar to new style gabber but is usually about 30 bpm slower.

The hardstyle sound typically consists of a “heavy” sounding kick, intense reverse basslines, and “adrenaline-rushing” melodies. It bears some similarities to hard trance. Many hardcore artists produce hardstyle tracks as well.

Hardstyle is mainly produced in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Malaysia and Australia.


Hardcore is a type of electronic dance music typified by the rhythmic use of distorted and atonal industrial-like beats and samples.

The tempo of various kinds of hardcore ranges from about 95 beats per minute (Belgian “New Beat” and rave/techno), to over 300 bpm (“speedcore”), with the more popular styles ranging from about 150 bpm to 200 bpm.

Hardcore is usually composed using music sequencers, and many earlier tracks were produced on home computers with module tracker software.

Some examples of the software used are FL Studio, Ableton Live, Cubase, Logic, Nuendo and Reason.

The wide availability of computers, combined with the absence of financial remuneration, means that many hardcore musicians write for their own enjoyment and the pleasure of innovation.


Recent Posts